for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
at Davidson College

for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
at Davidson College


Winner, Winner!

David Hedges is a local entrepreneur with two businesses: Bookman Bright Consulting and Bookman Bright Retirement Planning and Capital Management. In simple terms, David manages money primarily for business owners and people “at a stage called almost-retirement or retirement,” in his words. A problem solver at heart, David helps people juggle the moving parts of retirement planning, risk management, and much more.

Since David’s business deals with personal and confidential material, an open, coworking space like the Hurt Hub might not seem conducive to his workplace needs, but our coworking space is still proved useful to David’s business. When David was looking for a space to hold an educational event on financial services he turned to the Hurt Hub, since his own office is just right across the street. After hosting one successful event (where the only glitch was that there were more attendees than anticipated), David made a note to himself that the Hurt Hub would be his go-to place for anymore public events.

After having hosted an event and becoming more known in the Hurt Hub community, when the Hurt Hub was looking for local business owners to offer advice to up-and-coming entrepreneurs, David volunteered. On account of helping out, David was entered into The Project Town Raffle. The raffle included a 6-month ‘Flex Space’ membership at the Hurt Hub, 8 hours of use for an Event Space rental, and up to 15 hours of Innovation Consulting services with Evan Rozantes and Beth Adams.

This raffle was offered by the Hurt Hub after receiving a grant from the Town of Davidson to specifically encourage local business owners and entrepreneurs to continue working for the good of the local community. David plans to use his new resources to host more educational events for the community, as well as expand his network, using the Hurt Hub’s points of contact.

Congratulations, David! We can’t wait to see what you will do!

Access to Capital

A Night to Remember: The Nisbet Venture Fund Pitch Competition

On Wednesday, April 19th at 6:00 pm, eleven teams of young entrepreneurs gathered in the C. Shaw Smith 900 Room for The Hurt Hub@Davidson’s ninth annual Nisbet Venture Fund Pitch Competition. A few things to know:

  • Six of the teams competed in the Incubation Track, each presenting two-minute pitches to advocate for their ventures. These ventures are earlier in the process of development, and many teams have received the Try-It Fund to get their ventures off the ground. The Incubation Track winner receives $2,500.
  • The other five teams competed on the Acceleration Track, presenting five-minute pitches with three minutes of Q&A from our esteemed panel of judges, Mbye Njie ’04, Ashley Gautreaux, and Jay Hurt ’88. These ventures are further along in their development and many have already become financially viable. The Acceleration Track winner receives $25,000 and pro-bono legal services from The McIntosh Law Firm.
  • The third award of the night was our Audience Choice Award. The week leading up to the competition, an open-voting forum allowed anyone to vote up to once a day for their favorite venture. The Audience Choice award winner receives $5,000.

This night was filled with the true spirit of entrepreneurship. From our W. Spencer Mitchem Director of the Hurt Hub, Liz Brigham ‘04, opening up the night, to the wonderful emcee and Innovator in Residence, Donna Peters ‘89, the genuine interest and investment in young entrepreneurs was especially evident at the Nisbet Venture Fund Pitch Competition. 

The range of ventures might be one of the most impressive aspects of this competition. Here are a few quotes from the night to give you a sense of just the kind of range we’re talking about: 

  • “I know my chickens!” 
  • “Rotate People’s Lives with Motate.”  
  • “You won’t be able to die of boredom, but you’ll be able to use it to your advantage .” 
  • “That beard comes with a lot of wisdom.”  

From ventures looking to expand creativity and inspiration in children, to helping college and high school students in their career searches, to fully downloadable and original party planning material – creativity and innovative spirit are not lacking at Davidson.  

The entire event and night would not be possible without our 2023 sponsors Marian Nisbet and Chip Nisbet ’86, and The McIntosh Law Firm. Chip Nisbet spoke to the crowd before announcing the winners and emphasized the love his family holds for Davidson College and how this competition has flourished in its nine years. We are so grateful for your support!

And now for our winners: 

The Farm won the Audience Choice award, receiving the most votes over the week leading up to the competition. Founder Odysseas Koufos ‘25 received $5,000 to go towards his venture of renting chicken coops to families to incentivize reconnecting with our roots and view farming as an easy and domestic activity. 

Modern Myths won for the Incubation Track, receiving $2,500 to encourage and inspire creativity and imagination in children. Founder Chloe Boissy Stauffer ‘24 will use her winnings to design unique and whimsical children’s books, toys, and accessories to reinvigorate childhood imagination.  

And our biggest prize of the night, KK Dairy Solutions won the Accelerator Track receiving $25,000 and pro-bono legal advice from The McIntosh Law Firm. Founder, Lily Korir ‘23, is revolutionizing small-scale dairy farming in Kenya. Korir has received both the Try-It Fund and the Avinger Impact Fund for KK Dairy Solutions. With family in Kenya who are small-scale dairy farmers, Korir’s personal connection to the issues her venture is working to solve made her pitch succinct, impassioned, and clear, earning her the night’s top prize. 

The Hurt Hub@Davidson College is proud of all the competing teams and sends a special thanks to everyone who made this night possible, from our sponsors, mentors, to the Hurt Hub staff, to Rebecca Weeks Watson, our judges, participants and RYGID AV.

Be sure to keep an eye on all these ventures, we know they’re headed to big things!

Watch the live event recording here.

Photos were taken by D’Mycal Foreman ’25


Do You Know Louis?

Emily Schmit: Hi Louis, I was wondering if you could tell me about your work at the Hurt Hub – what you do there you, and how you’re kind of a face of the Hurt Hub for some people. Do you have any comment on that as well?

Louis Onoratini: I think first and foremost I’m a Community and Events Ambassador at the Hurt Hub. I have been doing that for almost two years now. It’s been super fun and really just a great time to help students and the people from around the Davidson community get to know the Hurt Hub and use it as the resource that it is.

I don’t know if I would describe myself as the face of the Hurt Hub, but it’s a great place where I think a lot of people can grow themselves and grow their network. I think a lot of people don’t think about that. I’m not a stem guy. I’m not a computer science guy. I’m a Political Science major, and I’ve still used that space to my benefit, so anyone can do it.

ES: Yes. I think a lot of students think about the Hurt Hub as a place for only Econ majors or something like that, but you’re a Political Science major. What else have you done on campus in your four years here?  

LO: I’m a Chidsey Leadership Fellow. I was also the president of Amnesty for my first two years here at Davidson, and I play on the club soccer team.

ES: So the big question, you’re a senior, do you know what’s up next for you?

LO: I’m very grateful to say that I was admitted into Georgetown for next year, and I’ll be studying international affairs with a focus on European studies and European relations.

ES: Wow, that’s huge! Do you think have you made any connections through the Hurt Hub that you can see helping you in your career as you move forward, or that helped you to get where you are now?

LO: Yes. I mean all the people I have worked with here, especially Liz, Kara, Erin, and Zee. Actually in my first year, Zee came into the student project room I was studying in at Hurt Hub and said “I heard you were looking for a job.” I said “yes”, and she said “well send me your resume!”

Also, Liz read over my statement of purpose for Georgetown.

These are people that have kind of made me the person I am because I spent a lot of time with them. I spent winter break and last summer break working at the Hurt Hub.

ES: So you were just in the Hurt Hub and got a job by sending in your resume?

LO: Yes, it was pretty crazy. I also had to go through an interview process.

It was cool to work with them and I got to know them a lot more through that time. You know, if you step out of your bubble for just a second, and see the people that make Davidson what it is, you will meet a lot of super interesting people to talk to.

ES: Anything else you’d like to say or leave with our readers?

LO: I think the most important thing is, we have so many resources here at Davidson, and at times we think, I’ll take advantage of them tomorrow. Then, tomorrow comes at you pretty fast. So, I would just say take a walk around the Hurt Hub, even if it is just to study for an hour, and I’m sure you’ll meet someone or see a resource on the screen that you’ll be interested in taking advantage of!


Tim Dreffer

Tim Dreffer describes himself as “always having this sort of entrepreneurial thing” going on. When I asked him to explain what he meant by that, he took me through his career path. First to Frito Lays, establishing a new manufacturing plant, then to Toyota when the company was just starting to manufacture the Camry, and then Dreffer moved to establish a new division of JB Hunt. The thing about all these jobs, he explained, is that he was still getting a paycheck about every two weeks. The fear of not having a reliable income is scary, but it’s a risk Dreffer was willing to take based on four other measures of wealth he had taken to heart:

  1. Time
    • Are you in control of your own time or is someone telling you where you need to be and when? Do you have the ability to attend your kids’ dance recital or coach their baseball team?
  2. Location
    • Do you like to travel and does work allow you to? Do you want to be in one spot or establish roots and stick with them? 
  3. Mental Health
    • Where’s your head? Are you emotionally available for your loved ones or does work take you out of that head space? 
  4. Reciprocity
    • Are you able to give back to your community? To those around you? 

It’s these four kinds of wealth that Dreffer felt like he was lacking when he was working for others. After establishing his own company, Dreffr Consulting, he was able to fill these four buckets more than he ever had before. 

With his current company, EDGE Supply Chain, Dreffer is one of three co-founders. EDGE is a logistic and supply chain company, focusing on maximizing customer experience and efficiency for their clients. Their catch phrase? “I know a guy.” Dreffer and his partners are building a network of trusted individuals with different skill sets to be able to help their clients in any way they may need.  

Dreffer first became a co-worker with the Hurt Hub@Davidson in 2020, ironically looking for a way to get out of the house after having worked from home for a little while. When he first started coming in, everyone was wearing masks and there were few people around, and Dreffer felt that lack of community. Now that we’re back to more “normal” Hurt Hub functioning, Dreffer isn’t shy about using the community resources. He attends workshops and classes, where he actually first connected with Meg Seitz with tothshop, who developed the branding and title for EDGE. EDGE’s new website was also built by Matt Cuddy with thirdcupcreative and former intern at the Hurt Hub. “You’ll get out of it what you put into it,” Dreffer says. He also is a partner with LaunchCLT.

We wrapped up our conversation with a few pieces of advice for Davidson students: 

  • Always have some sort of North Star to come back to. Whether that’s a career goal or a personal goal. 
  • If you don’t aim for the target, you won’t hit it. 
  • Now is the time to start developing your network. Whether it’s through LinkedIn or crossing the street and coming over to the Hurt Hub, or participating in workshops and talks; these opportunities will allow you to meet people you might need later on down the road.  
  • Participate don’t anticipate. Don’t tie yourself in knots and anticipate things you can’t control. 
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Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Davidson College


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